My Square Foot Gardening Update for Fall 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update about my square foot gardening adventures. The lasttime was in July when I shared a video. You can view the post and video here.

In that post I told about the building of more square foot beds and adding friendly soil bacteria and fungi. That really paid off, too. In spite of the heat and drought, I came out fairly well.

Oh, yes, the beds were mulched with hay. And I did water the beds nearly every day. Nonetheless, I don’t think ordinary fertilization would have yielded as much.


Onions in large bowl harvested in 2012


I had a good harvest of Candy Hybrid onions in late July. Several were large. And the taste is wonderfully sweet. They were well liked by the owner of a local bed and breakfast who bought a few from me.


Large onion in hand from 2012


I discovered recently I’d missed a few small onions when I harvested them this summer. They’re coming up now, and I hope I can successfully overwinter them.

Candy Hybrid onions aren’t available everywhere, so you may have to search for them, if your favorite seed company doesn’t carry them.

If you try Candy Hybrids, you’ll have wonderful tasting onions as long as they last. And they’d be good for drying down for use later.

For those who think I should have grown heirloom onions, I already grow Egyptian walking onions and a couple of varieties of multiplier onions that reproduce underground. I’m trying yellow potato and white multiplying onions in square foot beds for the first time this fall. I’m eager to see what they’ll be like by next summer.


Squash vines take over square foot bed in 2012


If you saw the video I referred to above, you’ve seen the above shot of two Candy Roaster squash plants taking over the 4′ x 8′ bed where they were planted. Before they were done, the vines grew even larger than what you see in the picture.

The poor sweet potatoes I planted in the same bed didn’t have a chance. I’d read somewhere not to plant squash and sweet potatoes together, but I thought the sweet potatoes would have been more competetive.


Candy Roaster Squash from 2012


I harvested four giant squashes which were a good 20 inches long and bigger around than my arm. One of them appeared to have been chewed on quite a bit by critters, so it went into the compost.

This variety truly is sweet. It reminded me of a musk mellon, only not as sweet.


Half of Russet potato harvest from 2012


The picture above is only half of my harvest of Burbank Russet potatoes. It represents what came a few days ago from one of two 4′ x 4′ beds where I grew them.


Large potato in hand from 2012


Most of the russets were medium to large, as you’d expect. The above shot is of one of the largest specimins. This was my first experience growing so many russets.

I also grew Red Norland potatoes and Swedish Peanut fingerlings, but I didn’t get photos of either variety when I harvested them.

The Red Norlands grew quite large and plentiful. I’m looking forward to growing them next year. Some of the smallest ones went to the bed and breakfast, where they were well liked.

Nearly all of the fingerllings went to the bed and breakfast, where they, too, were a hit.

I’m sold on square foot gardening, especially after this crazy gardening year. Adding friendly soil microbes and a good layer of mulch gave me an edge I don’t think I’d have hadotherwise.

I also grew Red Ripper black-eyed peas in my mini-Hugulkultur bed. While not as many plants came up s I’d hoped, they all did well.

How did your survival garden turn out this year? What do you plan to do next season? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below and let me and other readers know.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.